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Breaking the Machismo Myth: Finnish Films at Hot Docs

The Y-Chromosome Exposed. Several films out of Finland are revealing men in ways we don't often see in film. The films are screening at Hot Docs 2010 (April 29th - May 9th)

ITO-DIARY OF AN URBAN PRIEST is the story of Fujioka, a young boxer turned Buddhist priest and bar owner. This Japanese film by award-winning Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo is a contemplative study of Fujioka's search for meaning in his life, even as he councils those in his role as priest. Being a Pure Land Buddhist in Japan, Fujioka sometimes encounters those who do not recognize him as a "real" priest. He also has to deal with living in a society that follows some religious traditions (the funereal, for example) but seems to have no mass religious consciousness. A serious eye injury seems to have sparked Fujioka's personal journey of loss, leading him to consider the impact of a mother absent from his childhood and the death of the grandmother who raised him. I enjoyed most of this documentary because Fujioka is an interesting young man, but the pervasive, meditative scenes of the cityscape tried my patience. The film gets a passing grade from me, but, boy did I wish I had a pair of scissors handy to cut some scenes not out but shorter. Even good scenes can linger way too long.
Sunday, May 2, 9:00pm, Cumberland Cinemas
Wednesday, May 5, 4:00pm, Cumberland Cinemas

Kudos to directors, Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen for making STEAM OF LIFE. This documentary is an act of bravery in that it exposes the thoughts and feelings of Finnish men to each other and, through the distribution of this film, to the world. The setting for each revelation is the ubiquitous sauna that is such an integral part of Finnish life. The small, steamy space of the sauna adds to the intimacy of each man's story as they sit naked in these "confessionals". The film allows men to talk openly about love and life, and I really thank them for sharing their thoughts. Stay tuned for my blog interview with the directors. Coming Soon!

Monday, May 3, 7:00pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
Wednesday, May 5, 4:00pm, The ROM Theatre

PORTRAIT OF A MAN is the third is Koiso-Kanttila's trilogy about manhood. The other films are FATHER AND SON and A WINTER'S JOURNEY. Since the other two films also played at Hot Docs, there is a good chance that this might be worth seeing.
Monday, May 3, 9:45pm, Cumberland Cinemas
Thursday, May 6, 2:00pm, Innis Town Hall

FREETIME MACHO. I'm looking forward to seeing this comedy about the third worst rugby team in northern Finland: how they play (or try to) and how they deal with their relationships (gay and straight).
Wednesday, May 5, 6:30pm, Cumberland Cinemas
Saturday, May 8, 6:45pm, The Royal Cinema


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